Wednesday, January 23, 2013

NCAA | Seattle U finally hires new volleyball coach

James Finley arrives from VCU, where he left amid controversy

More than two months after Shannon Ellis announced she was stepping down as head volleyball coach at Seattle University, the Redhawks have, at long last, named her successor.

New Seattle U volleyball coach James Finley
-AP photo by Steve Helber 
James Finley arrives after eight years at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Despite a winning record (151-116), including 25-6 in 2012, Finley left under stormy circumstances, accusing the new VCU athletic director of discrimination.

Finley is gay. In November, he was fired by athletic director Ed McLaughlin. Shortly thereafter, he filed a complaint against McLaughlin with VCU’s Office for Institutional Equity.

“There’s no other conclusion that I can come to other than that he just doesn't want a gay person representing his athletic department," Finley told reporter Hank Kurz, Jr. of the Virginia Associated Press.

McLaughlin denied any discrimination; his decision to fire Finley was upheld December 19 by VCU President Michael Rao.

Finley graduated from Sul Russ State University in southwestern Texas. After coaching high school and club volleyball, he led Arizona Western College to a 137-37 record. At VCU, his teams won four conference championships.

Last season, VCU ranked third in the nation with 3.10 blocks/set. The Washington Huskies were the top-ranked D1 blocking team in 2012.

Seattle U finished 4-14 during its first season in the Western Athletic Conference. The Redhawks return 8 players, plus 4 redshirt players from last season’s team.


  1. Best of luck James. You'll find Seattle U a great place to work.

  2. I'm not sure how Finley plans to earn the support of northwest volleyball clubs after he pulled the scholarship for incoming local sensation Miah Diirell. Trying to build a successful Division I program will require strong relationships with the clubs that produce the best volleyball players in the northwest, and this didn't seem to be a good first move. Good luck James.


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